• Exploration has kicked off for MTM Critical Minerals at its West Arunta niobium-REE project
  • Tenements are immediately adjacent to WA1’s Luni discovery
  • Drill targets to be derived from magnetic and geophysical data


Special Report: Exploration has kicked off at three exploration licences MTM Critical Minerals holds in the prolific West Arunta region, which host a plethora of carbonatite mineralisation known for containing high-value magnetic rare earths such as niobium.

The West Arunta is becoming a hotspot for REE mineralisation, with WA1 Resources (ASX:WA1), Encounter Resources (ASX:ENR), Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) and CGN Resources (ASX:CGR) all very active in the region with highly prospective rare earth project developments.

In December last year, MTM Critical Minerals (ASX:MTM) entered the fray, acquiring Flash Metals and its three exploration licenses adjacent to WA1’s West Arunta niobium-REE project, where 30,000m of drilling was recently completed as it progresses towards a maiden resource estimate next quarter.


MTM Critical Metals asx MTM niobium REE exploration West Arunta
MTM’s newly acquired tenements and surrounding projects. Pic: Supplied (MTM)


Rare earths hunt begins

MTM’s three West Arunta exploration licences cover ~140km2 and are immediately adjacent to the tenements held by WA1 and ENR.

Niobium-REE mineralised carbonatites were recently discovered on those licences, with grades of up to 5% niobium (Nb2O5) intersected.

MTM is currently reprocessing available geophysical survey data and assessing options for collecting new magnetic and gravity geophysical data that will be used to generate drilling targets.

Like the recent discoveries by its neighbours, the company says exploration will focus on concealed coincident gravity and magnetic targets within prospective basement rocks that could represent mineralised carbonatite intrusions.

Ultimately, MTM says, these targets will be tested with drilling.


One of Australia’s hottest exploration regions

MTM managing director Lachlan Reynolds says the West Arunta project – obtained through its recent acquisition of Flash Metals – provides the company with compelling exploration opportunities in underexplored terrain.

“The West Arunta region is one of Australia’s critical metal exploration hotspots with over $60m in exploration expenditure collectively invested in the district by a number of ASX companies,” Reynolds says.

“We are very pleased to start exploration on our ground in the West Arunta province, where there is an opportunity to discover new niobium-rare earth deposits associated with carbonatites.

“There has been limited exploration in the area, so collection of basic exploration datasets like detailed geophysics could reveal quality targets near to the emerging mineralised carbonatite projects identified by both WA1 and Encounter.

“It is especially fortunate as WA1 has recently released additional high-grade niobium results (including 9m @ 3.7% Nb2O5, 12m @ 3.4% Nb2O5, 120m @ 1% Nb2O5) as they look more and more likely to deliver a world-class niobium resource.

“We are fortunate to have secured ground that is within 10km of the Luni niobium discovery and within 20km of the P2 niobium discovery, and we are looking forward to getting on the ground.”



This article was developed in collaboration with MTM Critical Minerals, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.